Marriage: The Premier Relationship of This Life
This posting comes to you from Rome! Here I am, for three weeks, with 270 other bishops from all over the globe — in company with priests, sisters, theologians, and married couples (the first intervention from the synod floor was from a Mexican married couple, and there is even a little baby crying in the background) — to consider, in ordered and prayerful conversation, the timely topic, The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.
Pope Francis (still beaming from his visit to us) is here, too. Yes, he made a short yet perceptive opening address, but most of the time he just listens attentively and respectfully.
The purpose of the synod is to reaffirm, strengthen, and restore the noble, radiant meaning of marriage.
If you want an example of a good shepherd trying to do this, give a look to the homily the Holy Father preached last Sunday at the opening Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which you can find by clicking here.
+Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
While we bishops are here as pastors, we are also here as disciples.
We are especially disciples when we listen with gratitude, humility, and openness to God’s Word, particularly His Incarnate Word, Jesus.
Yes, we gather as a synod of bishops, but, first and foremost, we assemble as disciples.
Thus, the starting point of the Synod must be what God has revealed to us about marriage and the family: that one man and one woman, united in lifelong, life giving, faithful love, eager for God’s gift of babies, raised with tenderness in the sacred communio of the family, is the premier relationship of this life, so holy that it reflects the interior love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Most Blessed Trinity.
To defend, support, sustain, renew, and restore that noble nature of marriage and family as God intended “from the beginning” — as His Son reminded us in last Sunday’s Gospel — is our starting point for the synod, as well as our goal.
Today’s challenges and particular dangers to God’s intention for marriage and family – – cultural, economic, sociological, political, – – and our pastoral response to them, are very, very important, but should flow from our starting point.
Gods’ Word must always come first.
While pastoral realism and compassion inspires us to consider carefully the situation of marriage and family now, our duty is to follow Jesus in recalling and restoring what His Father intended “. . . in the beginning.”
I realize you’ve heard otherwise, but the Synod is not about same-sex unions, or Holy Communion to those Catholics in a bond outside the Church — although those topics might come-up — but about what God has revealed to us about marriage and the family, in the Bible, in human nature, in reasoned reflection, and in the timeless teaching of the Church.
Stay tuned. I’ll try to keep you posted.